TDCJ Divisional Status
The Chaplaincy Profession is as great in complication and is supported by as esteemed a
group of schools, associations and world organizations as any other
profession: including the professions of medicine, education, psychology,
law, engineering, computer programming and their sub-disciplines.
Yet, by accident certainly, an incredible affront to every seminary, church, synagogue, mosque and religiously sponsored hospital, indeed, an affront to every person in Texas who values their religion is this: within the minimum requirements, a HS/GED graduate, a 19 year old teenager with 1 year of experience in computer programming can enter TDCJ at -2- pay groups above an entry level chaplain and at the same pay group as a senior chaplain (click Chaplains Speak for more).
We Chaplains are proud to serve the State, those in her custody and her employees. We are proud of our alma maters and the education we received at them. We consider our service to TDCJ an extraordinary and rich place of service among some of Texas' finest employee/citizens in one of the most challenging, interpersonally hostile and dangerous places on earth--the penitentiary. Extraordinary because we relish in the practice of our profession and cherish the times when heartfelt help is delivered.
None of us think our engineers, teachers or principals being paid anything outside the norm. We want our teachers and engineers to make a decent wage for their qualifications and experience. We worked as hard as they did to get educated, often under the auspices of the same school. True Parity means restructuring and really funding the chaplaincy department in a degree commensurate with other TDCJ professions in terms of qualifications, realistic work needs and a honest career ladder. Yet it is increasingly clear that nothing will happen without a radical change: it has not happened in 30 years despite great efforts (Click History-Value of Correctional Chaplaincy for more).
It is and has been a given that the Chaplaincy Profession is an accepted profession in major institutions in the U.S., including the restricting environs of the military and the U.S. Legislature. The real question: DO Texans value Religion in General and Religious Education and Experience? Of course they do. TDCJ is a public institution in service to the people of Texas with some of the finest employees in the nation. Yet, right now, in spite of "words" of valuing "faith-based programs," some of the Actual Value is clearly seen in the need to address parity for chaplains. That is why us Chaplains are seeking parity, to serve Texas' interests by facilitating the Religion and Religious Education as well as general pastoral care for those within TDCJ and to have a modicum of economic freedom comparable to those in the other professions. We have families we love too.
Indeed, Parity for Chaplains is about the
Value of Faith ~ Value of Religion
Value of a Profession & Religious Education
This is a bipartisan effort: write & vote to support those legislatures who support Religion & Parity for Chaplains. What is best about supporting Chaplains: it will only take a relatively small amount of money to redress a good portion of inequity and approach parity within TDCJ, which will in the long run provide an exponential increase in pastoral care and availability.
Click Here to
e-mail us: Parity@PreciousHeart.net